My name is Natalie and I am 36 years old. I am now a mum of four children and work full-time.
It all started 19 years ago. I lived with my nan and grandad and unfortunately, they both passed away within a year of each other. The pain I felt was like nothing I had experienced in my life, I was lonely, sad, lost, depressed and wanted to die.
I tried to commit suicide by taking 90 co-codamol. I woke up in the ICU after failing and was referred to one session with a psychiatrist. I was so ashamed and embarrassed, I stayed in hospital for over a week, saw a psychiatrist once and was later discharged. There was no follow up.
My boyfriend at the time was a couple of years older than me and I started to go out drinking and was introduced to drugs, mostly cocaine. Every Friday I would plan my evening around which party to go to, and how much to spend on cocaine.
This became every Friday and Saturday, it numbed the pain I felt for the loss of my nan and grandad. I bought a house with him at the age of 19 but felt so much pressure with everything.
My life was spiralling out of control and I would prioritise drink and drugs before paying bills. I started working in a bar as well as full time. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday I would buy cocaine to help keep me awake late and to trick myself I would be able to function more. I would go back to parties after working in this bar and spend more money than I earned.
Around 2006 I met someone else and ended up having my 1st baby. Fast-forwarding to the present, we now have 4 children. I used every weekend and although my children would stay out this was the opportunity for me to use and drink on the weekend.
It became the norm for me.
The problem I was facing was addiction to drink and cocaine. I was failing at my job, failing my children, letting people down, my home got repossessed 3 years ago, I lost the love for everything, I lost my personality, I lost my self-love, I hated myself, I was depressed and low and wanted to die.
11th of April 2021 I never really understood my addiction until I came across a video on Facebook with Lee Butler.
Everything he was saying I could relate to. I felt this was just me, I then watched another video with Marcus and I just broke down. I messaged their page and Marcus replied straight away asking me a few things and saying that he would help me. I was invited to their walk on a Saturday.
I felt so nervous and embarrassed but I felt this was the only way out. He asked if I wanted to quit this life of pain and misery, and my answer was yes. The tools I have been given by Marcus, Wal and Lee have helped me to overcome this addiction and battle I have been in for 19 years.
They have taught me to recognise the beast and how to voice this and overcome this battle by applying the tools of AVRT and voicing it to one of the team.
These wonderful people are real and have all had the same battles, they really are true heroes!
I now know how to recognise my addiction when it tries to come in and get me to use it. The support from this group is phenomenal and they have saved my life. I owe them everything.
Since being part of this wonderful group, I am committed to my business, I am striving for all of my goals, I am healthier, happier, I have my personality back, I am a better mum, I am stronger, and my ideas for my future businesses are all coming together.
I am learning to love myself again and I love the person I have become. I no longer want to die and no longer want to be controlled by this addiction. I could not have done this without these guys especially, Marcus who is always there for me.
They have taught me that life starts when you stop, and I couldn’t agree more!!!! I enjoy being with people who have had similar experiences as this is real.
This group has shown me I am not alone, and I am not a bad person, I have never felt so loved and respected in my life. I love being around this group because it is a safe place where we can all share our experiences and feelings without being judged.
Life starts when you stop. I love being part of this group and would love for a centre to be available to participate in activities including film, music, meditation, open mic nights, dancing, sports and art. A safe place where no drugs or drink are involved, but can still have fun.
This group has not only saved my life but has saved and is saving many others. I am so blessed, we are so blessed to have this group!!!!!
The continuous support and dedication help people who are scared of reaching out because these people have experienced similar struggles, the help to save others and being part of this group has given me the tools to help others that are or were in similar situations.
“We’ve got this”